United says there won’t be a reduction of seats from Cleveland to the NYC and DC markets as they will add seats and upgauge flights to Newark and Washington/IAD, which will also result in an increase of premium cabin seats. They also say that they will be adding more seats between Cleveland and Chicago as well as additional weekend flights between Cleveland and Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, and Fort Myers. Passengers booked to DCA or LGA will have the option to fly to IAD or EWR or to connect to those airports.
Both LaGuardia and Reagan National are preferred airports by many. The move means that Cleveland to LaGuardia/JFK will be left to American and Delta as a duopoly. And American now has a monopoly from Cleveland to Washington/DCA.
Sadly, the writing has been on the wall for Cleveland since the Continental merger with United was announced. United’s ex-CEO Jeff Smisek misled the courts when he suggested that Cleveland could maintain its size or grow. That was said to gain merger approval, but airline mergers almost always result in hubs being cut. The intention all along was to cut Cleveland as it was the smallest hub and was redundant located between Chicago, Newark, and Washington DC. These are just the latest cuts that won’t end until service from Cleveland to all United non-hub airports are cut.
We flew to Kansas City this past weekend and reminisced about the 4 daily nonstop flights that Continental offered on a flight that took just 90 minutes, compared to the 5 hours it takes now.
While nearby Pittsburgh subsidized new service and gained dozens of domestic and even Transatlantic routes that are critical to businesses since they were dehubbed, Cleveland has mostly gained service on leisure routes that hasn’t helped fill key business holes.
If Cleveland’s airport had strong leadership, they would try to find a way to negotiate with United over their monthly 7 figure rent payment for the shuttered Concourse D in exchange for gaining back key service, and not continuing to lose key routes. But considering that the city owned airport has never had strong leadership, I guess there’s no reason to expect that to change now.